Best DSLR and mirrorless cameras September 2019

We've worked with an expert in tech to select the best DSLR and mirrorless camera options available, for hobbyists and advanced photography enthusiasts alike.

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You've almost certainly got a camera within reaching distance, if you're not holding one right now reading this. Smartphone photography has improved at an astonishing rate in recent years. Still, if you want to take your photography to the next level, whether you want to go professional, or simply as a hobby, what you need is a camera with interchangeable lenses.

Some photographers may prefer a full body traditional and powerful DSLR, while others will find the compact nature of a smaller mirrorless interchangeable lens camera more suited to their needs.

Cameras of both types typically sell as body-only models without a lens or with a selection of cheaper "kit" lenses to get you started. Photography at this level can be costly, but it can also be a lot of fun along the way.

But don't just take our word for it. Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson is the national technology editor of News Corp and a keen photography enthusiast in her own right, so we've asked for her help to determine your best choices for every camera type. Here are her first picks and an alternate if you've got a particular brand loyalty in play – or even if you just spot a great bargain!


Nikon D850

  • Best DSLR for prosumer use:

Nikon D850

Specifications

Price$4,000 (body only)
Sensor45.7MP
ISO64–25,600 ISO
Video4K video
Extras7 FPS shooting

Dudley-Nicholson recommends the Nikon D850 for the more skilled photographer thanks to its astonishingly good low-light capabilities, as well as its suitability for all situations.

"The Nikon D850 isn't the largest camera that you can get," she says.

"It's not one of those sort of models with a built in grip or anything. So it is still quite travel light, and it's full frame. It has really all of the features that you should need."

If you cannot take a good photo with this camera, then you just cannot take a good photo.

Buy at Amazon

Canon 80D

  • Best DSLR for beginners:

Canon 80D

Specifications

Price$1,200 (body only)
Sensor24.2MP
ISO100-16,000 ISO
VideoFull HD video

Dudley-Nicholson's pick for the starter in the DSLR world is actually an older model, the Canon 80D. She's chosen it specifically for its age, because it means you can dip your toes into the DSLR world at a generally much lower price point, without missing out on key features.

"It's reasonably lightweight," she says. "It takes all sorts of lenses ... And you can definitely take some great pictures with it."

It's got some interesting features like time lapse features that you can use without putting too much effort into it.

Buy at Amazon

Sony A9

  • Best Mirrorless/ILC camera for prosumer use:

Sony A9

Specifications

Price$5,000
Sensor24.2MP
ISO100–51,200 ISO
Video4K video

Mirrorless cameras are typically favoured by those who prefer a smaller camera body, although you do usually have to forego having a proper optical viewfinder in return. Dudley-Nicholson favours the Sony A9 if you're looking to go small but shoot at a professional level.

If you're going to be shooting sports, or anything professionally, then definitely the Sony A9 is the top of the mirrorless peak.

Buy at Amazon

Nikon Z6

  • Best mirrorless/ILC camera for beginners:

Nikon Z6

Specifications

Price$2,600
Sensor24.5MP
ISO100–51,200 ISO
Video4K video

Dudley-Nicholson's pick for a mirrorless camera for the beginner is Nikon's Z6. "This is a great camera," she says.

It gives you the option to start with something that's relatively basic

"... then building on that later, because they've got many lenses coming out. So if you do decide to grow your photography expertise over time, they'll definitely be available to you."

Buy at Amazon

  • Best travel camera options

You can take your DSLR or mirrorless camera with you when you travel, but Dudley-Nicholson favours a slightly different approach.

"If you are travelling and you've got a DSLR, you can take it with no regrets," says Dudley-Nicholson. "But your shoulders might pay the price after a day or two".

That's why she recommends the use of a travel zoom camera for budding tourists. "A lot of people, when they go traveling and they don't want to just take photos with their smartphone, they want something a bit extra special," she says.

"Most travellers also want a camera offering some flexibility. With a travel zoom camera, you have that magnification power you can slip into a pocket."

Sony RX100 Mark III

Sony RX100 Mark III

Specifications

Price$800
Sensor20.1MP
ISO125–12,800 ISO
VideoFull HD video

Sony's RX100 family includes multiple models, which Dudley-Nicholson favours for their simplicity and flexibility. "You can't go far wrong because they're so small, they've got so many features."

They're just a really great solid, small camera."

Buy at Amazon

What to consider when DSLR shopping

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